Saturday, April 4, 2020

Shenmue Blue Pamphlet (Shenmue One Version) & Digitaliland Exhibition

One of the items received by Shenmue fans attending one the Premiere events held in Japan back in late 1998 / early 1999 (around a year prior to the game's release) was a large, tri-fold pamphlet with an eye-catching blue cover containing a wealth of screenshots and other art for the game, along with short explanations about its features.

One interesting fact about this pamphlet is that two different versions were created. In this blog we have previously talked about the Shenmue II themed version.

The other version, which is much less commonly seen, is a Shenmue I version and this what we will be looking at in this post. The images of the items in this post are courtesy of James Brown.

Before jumping into the pamphlet however, let's first pause to admire the special envelope it came in, which features concept art of Ryo on the front.

Envelope detail: the YS logo and SEGA's address in Tokyo.

The cover of the pamphlet has the Shenmue logo, and underneath the words "Chapter One: Yokosuka".
The front cover of the blue pamphlet (Shenmue I version).
Inside, the first page is an introduction to the setting for the game, with images of a towering crane at the harbor, Dobuita's red-light district at night, the harbor's gantry crane, the Hazuki residence and the store at Sakuragaoka (unlike the final release, the name on the store sign is not "Abe," as covered in an earlier post The Changing Face of the Abe Store: Beta vs Release).
"This is the town in which Ryo was born and raised.
And it's where everything starts.
A strange tension hangs in the air."
The core explanatory pages are the inner three pages, and these cover various topics: Free Battles, QTE Battles, Quests and Move Instruction. The final text promises a style of play that has never experienced before, the commencement of a vast and dramatic tale set in an intimate world in which you can experience a crisp morning changing to a warm afternoon and then a golden sunset as night closes in; where days may be snowy or rainy as the many people inhabiting it go about their everyday lives.

The inner pages of the pamphlet explain various features of the game.
Interestingly, they chose to use an image of a Shenmue II location to accompany the introduction to Ryo's character,
An image of Ryo at the warehouse at Beverly Hills Wharf where he first meets Ren of Heavens in Shenmue II
The same location in-game.
The back of the pamphlet contains information about an upcoming three-day multimedia event in Tokyo in May 1999 called "Network Jungle II: Digitaliland", at which Shenmue would be showing.

This was one of the major promotional events for Shenmue prior to its release, and since there is not a great deal of English information around about it, here is a full translation of the text:

Upcoming Event: Network Jungle II: Digitaliland

Shenmue Exhibiting in the Forest of Games*

Shenmue Demo Corner
Several game machines will be set up at the event.
The latest version of Shenmue will be playable.

Videos on the Giant Screen
Enjoy watching Shenmue videos on the impressive giant screen.
Includes never-before-seen footage.

Shenmue Gallery
Exhibition of numerous beautiful CG art wall hangings.
Many of these visuals have not been shown before.

Shenmue Goodies
Download data over the internet from a Dreamcast.
Obtain characters only available at this event!

Shenmue Merchandise Area
Exclusive items for sale!

Internet Hands-on Corner
Access the internet using the booth's Dreamcasts.

Date: May 1st (Sat),  May 2nd (Sun), May 3rd (public holiday) 1999.
Time: 10 am to 9 pm.
Venue: Tokyo Big Site (Tokyo International Exhibition Hall) West Halls 1 and 2.

*Forest of Games: this was the name of one area of the Digitaliland event, which was divided into various sections which they named "forests". Within the Electronic Forest section were the Forest of Games, Forest of Images, Forest of Communications, Forest of Education and the Forest of Tomorrow.

A full-color leaflet advertising a virtual Shenmue exhibition to be shown at the event, was also distributed to attendees at the Shenmue Premiere attendees. This virtual exhibition was called "Shenmue no Mori" (Shenmue Forest, in keeping with the naming used at the event), and was created specially for the show.

Leaflet for the "Shenmue Forest" at the Digitaliland event.
There does not seem to be a great deal of information around about this demo, and we plan to cover it in more detail in a future post.

Finally, at the very end of the back cover of the blue pamphlet, the release date of Shenmue I is given: 5th August 1999 (which eventually ended up being 29 December of that year).

Thanks again to James for providing the photos!

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